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World Osteoporosis Day: Serve Up Bone Strength

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BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA

About 50 million people in India have osteoporosis. You can prevent and delay the onset of osteoporosis and risk of fractures by improving your bone strength.

What is osteoporosis?

Bone is composed of tissue and mineral. In osteoporosis, there is loss of both mineral and tissue. Osteoporosis weakens the bone and results in frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones.

For adequate bone health, it is important to eat a diet rich in nutrients that help in building and maintaining healthy bones.

What are the key bone-healthy nutrients?

Calcium, Vitamin D, proteins and micronutrients are required for maintaining healthy bones and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Include foods rich in these nutrients to maintain adequate bone health.

CALCIUM

  • Bone acts as a reservoir for maintaining calcium levels in the blood, which is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function
  • Demands are particularly high during the rapid period of growth in teenagers
  • Calcium rich foods include milk, yoghurt, cheese, dried figs, broccoli, green vegetables, almonds and tofu

VITAMIN D

  • Vitamin D helps in calcium absorption from food in the intestine and ensures correct renewal and mineralization of bone
  • Vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to UV-B rays in sunlight
  • Try to get 10–20 minutes of sun exposure to your bare skin (face, hands and arms) outside peak sunlight hours (before 10 AM and after 2 PM) daily – without sunscreen
  • Vitamin D rich foods include egg, milk and oily fish

PROTEIN

  • Low protein interferes with the process of building bone mass ( during childhood) and preservation of bone mass ( in old age)
  • Protein undernutrition also leads to reduced muscle mass and strength in seniors, which is a risk factor for falls
  • Protein-rich foods include dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, lentils, beans and nuts

MICRONUTRIENTS

  • Some micronutrients are essential for maintaining healthy bones. These include:
  • Vitamin K: Found in leafy green vegetables, spinach, cabbage and kale, liver, some fermented cheeses, and dried fruit
  • Magnesium: Found in green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, unrefined grains, fish and dried fruit
  • Zinc: Found in lean red meat, poultry, whole grain cereals, pulses, legumes and dried fruit
  • Carotenoids: Found in many vegetables, including in leafy green vegetables, carrots and red peppers
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